Meet the Breed: The Norwegian Lundehund
The Norwegian Lundehund, also known as the Norwegian Puffin Dog, is a small Spitz-type dog that has traits no other dog has. Their unusual features include having six toes on each foot that are all fully functional, highly mobile prick ears that fold closed. Also, Lundehunds can bend their heads backwards along their own spines and turn their front legs to the side at a 90-degree horizontal angle to their body, much like human arms.These features were perfectly suited to hunt Puffins and their eggs on cliffs.
The Norwegian Lundehund was developed in Norway as a daring little dog that was designed to hunt Puffins and their eggs off the faces of slippery, rocky cliffs. They have many adaptations that made them highly successful at the job. They were so successful, in fact, that it became illegal to hunt Puffins. After the law change, the Lundehund found himself unemployed and their numbers dwindled. The breed nearly became extinct after bouts of canine distemper swept the land. A few dedicated enthusiasts rebuilt the breed, but due to the lack of genetic diversity, the breed has some health problems. The Norwegian Lundehund is still very rare.
The Norwegian Lundehund is a primitive breed and as such, they have unique behaviors including food stashing, and alerting their pack to any changes in the environment. This means they can bark a lot. Because they retain their pack instinct they often do well with other dogs after the pecking order has been established. Do not trust this breed with non-canine pets as they retain their prey drive. The are not easy to house train because of their primitive drive to mark their territory. They are very busy, and like to carry items around with them. They climb, dig, and can get into very small spaces. They have cat-like personalities which means they are intelligent, but only choose to obey with the right incentives. Keep training sessions short and fun for best results.
Breed Club Links: Norwegian Lundehund Club of America
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Photos courtesy of Wikipedia Commons.